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Christopher Coleman seeks new trial in case; remains in prison for 2009 family murder

WATERLOO, IL- The man convicted in the notorious 2009 Coleman family murders in Columbia, IL, makes a new claim of innocence in a request for a new trial.

Coleman’s attorney, Lloyd Cueto, has filed a Petition for Post Conviction Relief in Monroe County Court.

“That would have to be the conclusion is that someone else is responsible for (the murders), absolutely,” Cueto said.

Coleman, 41, is serving three life sentences for the strangulation murders of his wife, Sherri, and their sons, Garrett and Gavin.

At issue are 4 sexually explicit photos of Coleman and his mistress, Tara Lintz.  At trial, a judge ruled the jurors could only see the photos with the private parts of Coleman and Lintz obscured but during deliberations jurors ended up having access to small, unobscured thumbnails of the photos on the back of an evidence poster board.  The thumbnails had a time stamp of October 2008, which did not match up the timeline Coleman gave for the affair.

In the court filing, Cueto points out that in post trial media interviews, jurors have said that timeline discrepancy was a deciding factor.

“They said at one point they were deadlocked 7-5 tending toward acquittal,” Cueto said.  “Then, the jury foreperson said she saw these unredacted small thumbnail photos on the back and the time stamp on them did not line up with the timeline of the affair provided by the defense.  With that, she thought the defense lost all credibility and she was able to persuade the jury to find for guilt.  So, it’s pretty significant.”

Coleman’s attorneys at the time didn’t know about the jury seeing the explicit thumbnails or the time stamps and had no chance to argue against them being included in the evidence, Cueto said.

The prosecution is now reviewing the claims.

A hearing is likely months away.

Coleman will remain in prison.